2009-06-16, 2009 06 16

In brief: In order to weed the bed of literature provincialism, the youth of literature criticism announces the end for all contemporary maironiai, salomėjas and similar “grands” of Lithuanian literature, to all epigones and graphomaniacs hiding heads under the aureole of “high culture”.

The portal open to new winds and live art criticism presents the hot debut of present and future literature critics’ union Žirklionis, which has been formed from students of Vilnius University, Kaunas Humanitarian Faculty. The union starts its activity from the analysis of events of the Poetry Spring of this year.

The young critics observe that organisers of the festival Poetry Spring always emphasise the lasting, real values spread by the event for 45 years already. Is it really the advantage of the festival, or something that needs be changed?

This year events of the Poetry Spring started in Kaunas on the 25th of May by the poetry evening “Lyre of the Young” at Kaunas Artists House. The rather formal environment and weak organisation prevented the young from expressing their enthusiasm better. The readers felt perplexed as the themes of their poetry and the theme of rock music that sounded in the event differed visibly.

The unwillingness of the organisers to let go the steering wheel off their hands reminded once again that the Poetry Spring could come only with the help of poets “tested by time”.

On the 26th of May young poets were replaced by energetic amateurs and their evening “I May not Live without Poems”. The theme of Lithuania, the native land, was explored with the accompaniment of the folk instrument kankliai. The evening was simply comfortless, especially having in mind that the same poems were read by people or their children for some thirty years already. A thought appeared that all men in Lithuania were maironiai and all women – salomėjas.

The review of books published by Kaunas writers in 2008 and the award of 1 Litas prize took place on the third day of the Poetry Spring (the 27th of May) at Kaunas Artists’ Home. An impression was made to the young critics that the event was a formal conspiracy, during which the critical reading of books of Kaunas writers was imitated. All the reviews lacked criticism, while the award of 1 Litas prize turned into a complete chaos. Not everybody understood when he/she should applaud or express joy.

The events of the closing evening of the Poetry Spring were also eloquent. In addition to photographers and journalists, the biggest part of listeners of poetry were grandmothers and grandfathers with their grandchildren in the yard of Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum. Evidently, the biggest cultural event of poetry in Kaunas was not attractive to the younger generation.

The impression was strengthened by thoughts expressed by Rimvydas Stankevičius, the winner of the Poetry Spring of this year: “Nothing has changed. We all will have to fight for ourselves and try to prove that we are not turkeys. I used to shout aloud two years ago craving for the prize as I believed that I would break the gate and take the entire younger generation, which is worth all titles, through it. Still, their main sin is their youth. Aidas Marčėnas is a young poet for our classics. Ostensible emptiness is behind him. We do not exist."

Thus, observing events of the Poetry Spring organised rather chaotically and full of formalism, the young literature critics formed an impression that the Poetry Spring only contributed to strengthening of snobbery and provincialism in Lithuanian literature rather than to avoiding graphomaniacs and fighting for real values.

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